St Ives Town suffered a first defeat of the Southern League Premier Division season following a late Tuesday night twist.
Saints were beaten 2-1 by Biggleswade Town at ProEdge Westwood Road after loanee goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle misjudged a long free-kick and directed the ball into his own net with five minutes to go.
It was a kick in the teeth for Ricky Marheineke’s men to swallow in the closing stages of a second half they bossed – hauling themselves level and arguably doing enough to win the game before being left empty-handed.
“There was a really good atmosphere in the dressing room after starting the season with a win at Weymouth last Saturday,” said Marheineke.
“But the boys feel down in the dumps after such a bitter pill to swallow against Biggleswade.
“We certainly didn’t deserve to lose that game – in fact we probably deserved to win it after our efforts in the second half.
“But we’ve been undone by two set-pieces and that’s not something we can allow to continue.”
Saints fell behind early on as Shane Hill, who had a spell at St Neots Town last season, headed Biggleswade into a seventh-minute advantage after being left unchallenged to meet a Graeme Montgomery free kick.
Only smart saves from McKenzie-Lyle, to deny Jack Bowen, Connor Hall and Montgomery, prevented the visitors from increasing their lead in the opening half.
Saints were much better in the second period with the introduction of Ben Seymour-Shove adding pace and threat to their attacking play.
He laid on a chance for Lewis Hilliard, which required a fine save from visiting keeper Liam Gooch, only minutes after his introduction.
Gooch tipped that effort onto his crossbar and the same piece of woodwork was rattled again moments later when a Peter Clark effort from a Hilliard cross deflected off a defender and looped up.
But they same Saints duo did engineer a breakthrough to bring their side level in the 70th minute. Hilliard received a quick throw from Jordan Jarrold and slipped the ball into the path of Clark, who beat Gooch with a side-footed finish from the edge of the box.
And Saints thought they had completed a fine turnaround with seven minutes to go as Phil Draycott turned in a James Hall cross only to see his celebrations cut short by a raised flag. Incredibly, it was the third time in two games this season that St Ives have seen a goal ruled out.
And insult was soon added to injury as Biggleswade bagged their fortunate winner moments later when another Montgomery free-kick embarrassed McKenzie-Lyle.
Saints are back on home turf on Saturday when they entertain Kings Langley.